Here We Go Again: It’s Colombia, NOT Columbia
Image and gentle reminder, via Terra
By ALEX ALVAREZ
Guys. We need to talk. And we realize that, you being you and us being us, we might be preaching to the choir a little here, but hopefully, with a little internet magic, we can spread this message faster than a video of baby sloth handing a woman a flower.
And that message is this: Colombia, the country, is spelled like this.
There are various lovely and not lovely cities called Columbia, with a U, and a pretty snazzy school in New York called Columbia, also with a U, and like Colombia, with an O, they are named for a man whose name, depending on where you are, is either Columbus with a U, or Colombo or Colón. Yeah, it can get slightly complicated. But we know and trust that, despite that, the South American nation of Colombia is spelled like this. No U.
Q: “Who cares?” A: People who appreciate the difference between being correct and being incorrect.
A group of people who appreciate this difference have created a social media campaign to help spread this very message.
It’s Colombia, NOT Columbia
The campaign has been on our mind quite a bit today.
For one, here’s an article on FilmDrunk [Ed. note: A site I enjoy and laugh over immensely and which has a mostly top-notch commenting community] that tackles issues relating to humor and stereotypes and xenophobic jokes verses jokes about xenophobia, and also Toy Story and Colombia.
And Colombia is spelled correctly throughout the article. And yet. People responding to this article, this article that they’ve just read (or, at the very, very, very least, this article whose TITLE they’ve just read) spell the name of the country with a U.
You can understand why we might be a little, you know…
And then there’s this Daily Beast interview, linked to this morning in our story on reggaetonero Hector el Father’s uncredited (and unwitting) contribution to “Harlem Shake.” In the interview, Daily Beast assistant culture editor Marlow Stern writes that “con los terroristas,” the lyric sung/rapped by Hector, is “Columbian Spanish for ‘with the terrorists.’” This is incorrect and/or misleading on three very different levels. One, well. It’s “Colombian.” Two, there is no “Colombian Spanish,” apart from, maybe, some slang and colloquialisms, none of which would apply to the words “con,” “los” or “terroristas” anyway. Third, Hector el Father, who goes unmentioned in the Daily Beast interview, is not Colombian, nor is terrorism a uniquely Colombian concern.
Marlow Stern was also told about his error, directly, on Twitter by a person who directed him toward the “It’s Colombia, Not Columbia” campaign.
He elected to respond to this person by calling her a troll and later referring to his series of errors as a spelling typo.
But, in this case and in many, many others, it’s not an issue of misspelling a country’s name. Tpyos happpen! It’s the attitude towards which people have towards others and the notion that “if it doesn’t matter to me, then it doesn’t matter.”
It’s Colombia, NOT Columbia
Thank you for your time.